Check ins can be moments of joy for you and a loved one. At the same time these little gestures are the foundational pieces that every relationship can benefit from. You know what the gnomes and elves say: if neglected any kind of relationship can become unhealthy. Fortunately, applying radical attention to your relationship can make it thrive. Even if your relationship is already very healthy adding bits of deliberate structure like daily check ins makes longevity more likely.
Check ins are simple, which makes them easy to adopt as regular practice:
Morning check in means interacting and connecting as soon as possible once you wake up in the morning. That means turning toward your loved one and having a warm good thing of some sort while you are still in bed. If you don’t sleep together that’s okay. One of you can make the effort and bring you together as soon as possible. First trip to the bathroom versus a first positive encounter with your beloved? That’s for you to weigh. Just a few seconds to look each other, to connect through the eyes plus a lovely heartfelt smile makes an enormous difference for how the day will roll out. Some couples do a bit more such as asking each other, “how did you sleep?” Or, “what do you remember from your dreams?”
Being present means that you are an observer of this present moment.
So, now the day is underway from breakfast to perhaps rushing out the door. During your workday you could send each other just one text. I bet you know exactly the right few words to say that will give you both a moment of connection. There are couples that have a secret phrase or a magic word that if unpacked would be something like “don’t ever forget how much I love you. I’m here if you need me for anything. I’m always here for you. Remember that first-ever hiking trip? I’ll never forget falling into the river. Of course it was freezing cold that day. Still makes me smile to recall being soaking wet together. We figured out together what to do next and next to take care of ourselves. That’s what we’ll always do. Together. We’re doing this thing together.” [Be careful about sending text or personal emails. Don’t do it on company-owned computers or other devices if it is against policy or otherwise risks unwanted exposure. Use your own phone or tablet.]
Think about sending a midday afternoon reminder text as needed. “Remember to pay the gym fee when you go tonight. I’ll be home by seven. Waiting for you always.”
It is still the workday and you get a text from your beloved that says he/she has a problem. There are lots of responses that you might have. Maybe the partner just needs a kind word of support and that’s all. Maybe they need you to step outside and converse for five minutes. Maybe there is that one bit of business insight that you are instantly able to provide. Whether the partner needs an emotional shoulder for a minute or advice/knowledge or for you to do the grocery shopping after work allow yourself to flow into your role as hero-in-the-moment. It’s meaningful connection for you both.
Set up an agreed upon icon or emoji. Sometimes you just cannot stop everything and text back or reply to an email. You’ll need a shorthand for “Later. Love you.”
Remember to follow through on what “later” means. You, two, might need to debrief that evening while snuggled up on the couch.
The evening check in looks like eye-to-eye connection and touch. It means stopping or slowing down after the day’s concerns and genuinely pulling yourselves present. “I am here.” “I am here for you.” Hold hands and gaze deeply into each other’s eyes for a minute or two. Or sit on the floor on your favorite rug and kiss for a couple of sensual minutes. Connect. Connect with the eyes first and then embrace. Hold each other for five minutes, at least. Talking might be your next stage but not now. Let the eyes lead you where you need to be with each other.
Use the physical to deepen the nonphysical. Let gentle touch bring you closer together. With practice the evening check in can become a two-minute exercise. Enjoy it. If you want much more or the check in transitions into something more then enjoy, for sure.
Evening check in, phase two is talking/listening. Debrief from the day if you need to do so. Give each other five to ten minutes. Listen. Listen with empathy. Care. Don’t feel that you have to fix anything. Verbally and nonverbally show support. Just listen.
Discussions about problems are a different animal than having a check in. Refrain from giving advice unless specifically asked. If you are advising then see yourself as a collaborating team member, not a lecturer. Work together until the partner presenting the problem feels done or has a plan of action or both. Such discussions may dispense with a problem quickly and easily. Differently, they may need to be handled in small bites so don’t worry if you need to go at it for awhile and then stop. Just stop. Go take a walk together. Do other things. Cook dinner. Come back to it when you can but never have heavier conversations inside the bedroom.
Every night do a check in. When you are in the bed lie there and eye gaze for just a little bit. No hurry. No hurrying. Being present means that you are an observer of this present moment. You have no thoughts of what you think you need to be doing. Being present with your partner is a precious experience. It is one of solidarity and commitment. Secondly, you want to begin a practice of expressing gratitude. Share with each other what you feel grateful for. How was your day in the sense of what you are grateful for? Gratitude is a powerful sharing experience.
Check in means finding each other again in all the deeply connected ways that you discovered when you were first together. Practice turning toward each other again and again. Couples who practice can do this deep connecting within seconds. You can, too. Together, teach your subconscious selves to reach for each other. Whatever follows in activity during the day or at night will be amazingly smoother. It’s not magic but it is a truth that sex is better if you connect emotionally first. Whatever Life Bumps that you have to face out there in the world will go better if you develop a daily practice of reaching for each other.
Being present with your partner is a precious experience.
©2018 Aisha-Sky Gates Copying my blog posts is allowed if kept unaltered and proper accreditation is given.